There’s a galaxy of blackheads that have occupied my nose for more than a decade now. I’ve spent a lot of time (and money) trying to get rid of them, with clay masks, facials, scrubs and even one of those metal doodads that’s supposed to push the sebum, dirt and oil straight out of your pores. Some of them have worked, others have just caused itchiness and redness. Most of them aren’t very pleasant to use, causing the skin on the rest of my face to tighten, glow red or, in worst-case scenarios, sizzle.
The Removalist, the latest product by beauty maven Zoë Foster Blake’s Go-To line, is the first clay mask I have enjoyed using. For a start, it smells not like clay or chemicals, but like berries. It’s a clever psychological trigger (especially if you’re like me and your lizard brain equates berries with antioxidants), and will make adding the product to your routine a whole lot more appealing.
During the clay-mask-wearing process, my skin didn’t feel tight, itchy or burn-y. It felt a little bit as though I’d slathered on some sticky moisturiser. The mask gives your skin all the good stuff while sucking out all the bad stuff. Each time I’ve used the product I’ve kept it on for around 10 to 15 minutes. And once it’s time to wash it off, it’s easy to remove (you’re not going to be scrubbing all those nutrients straight back off again).
The mask contains kaolin clay, which is typically used in products such as these. It’s meant to cling to impurities so that when you wash the mud off, the gross junk from your pores will come away with it. But it’s also got zinc oxide, vitamin E, sunflower-seed oil and berry extracts, which work to hydrate and brighten the skin while the clay does its thing.
While my nose is a constellation of blackheads, my cheeks are rosacea-prone. Unlike other masks, The Removalist doesn’t inflame the rosacea (or merely sit there doing nothing at all) – it actively nourishes my skin, to the extent where I actually stare at myself in the mirror after removing it because my face is that glowing. When I maintain a twice-a-week application – which I happily do now I’ve found a product that doesn’t mess up the rest of my complexion – I have visibly fewer blackheads, and they take a lot less time to come back than when I use other products. Though it’s advertised for those with acne, congestion and oily skin, its delightful gunk-sucking powers should work for any skin type.
The Removalist costs $48.
“We Tried It” is a series about beauty products Broadsheet editors have road tested.